For Week 2 of Alumni Month we highlighted some of our hosts! Our overnight hosts shape the Bike & Build experience just as much as build partners, mountain roads, and the individuals who ride on our trips, and we’re wholeheartedly grateful for their help.

Today we’ll be hearing from Mark Beliveau, our Northern route’s orientation host at Holy Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Portsmouth, NH.

How long have you been hosting Bike & Build teams?
I don’t know the exact number but at least 15 years, I believe.

Why have you agreed to host Bike & Build year after year?
Without exception, the B&B riders that have stayed at Holy Trinity are respectful, polite, thankful, engaging, passionate about helping others, fun, difference makers, stewards of the environment, and adventure seekers. Somehow, B&B attracts the cream of the crop of twenty-somethings. As the first host of the Northern route, I love watching the riders arrive as tentative strangers and leave a few days later as friends in mission and adventure and ready to hit the road. While appreciative of their stay at Holy Trinity, they can’t wait to get the trip started!

Tell us about the most unique Bike & Builder you’ve ever met.
For certain, Jackson Lester, NUS 2014. Great guy with amazing energy, enthusiasm and fun loving. I biked part of the first day with Jackson (we brought up the rear) and it was great fun (learned the art of jumping road kill – it is a thing, who knew?). While he appreciated my 20 year old steel bike, he worked me hard to upgrade my ride. Thanks to his encouragement, I invested in a new Cannondale Super X and love it. Thanks Jackson. Hope you are well, brother.

Has anything surprised you about your experience hosting Bike & Build?
Not really. If anything, I am continually impressed by the quality of young people who want to bike across the country to support and increase awareness of the need for affordable housing. A shout out to past group leaders Nathan Palmer, Rachel Jodway, Katie Karas, Katie Petrillo, Megan Healey (with NH roots!), Jackson Lester, Josh Rasmussen, Brendan Newman (Program Director), Aiden Cropsey, Greg Powell, Jessica Kozlowski (thanks for your email from Chicago!), Megan Althaus and greetings to all of the other leaders and riders from years past. Great job – you made a difference and you made friends and memories for a lifetime. Keep at it.

Our hosts are in invaluable part of what makes our summer programming happen, and Bike & Build alumni carry their experiences with you all for years. The impact on our participants is clear; have you noticed any impact that Bike & Build has had in your community?
Certainly a greater awareness of the need for affordable housing and the hope that B&B brings to this important need in our community.